Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Little Miss 'E' painted this sign for our front door a couple of weeks ago. The beginnings of spring were just starting to appear and she got inspired, I guess. She sat outside on the sidewalk and painted barefoot, brush in hand and soaking up the warm air and sunshine. I absolutely LOVE it. The funny thing is, I was wondering just what to put on the door to spruce the place up for the day we have our home visit. (Trying to not to miss anything!) She surprised me with this and I really couldn't think of anything better to represent this home to new guests.
We did a study on hospitality this winter and what that really means, how it should look and how we are all called to exhibit this to others. We discussed when we should extend hospitality. (ALL the time!) the kids had fun imagining what it would be like to "entertain angels unaware". It seems it's not optional - as in, "The house is a mess", or "I'm too tired", or "I just want home to be a place where we retreat from the world". OUCH! How many times have I thought or said that???
I was reading this today and was struck again by how seriously God takes this subject. This is Isaiah 58:1-8 taken from The Message (a paraphrase of the Bible in modern language). I think sometimes we look at hospitality in terms of having friends over for dinner or hosting the Christmas tea or inviting the team over to swim - which it is. BUT I am challenged by how little I take it further and see it in a much broader way, how little I am willing to step outside my comfort zone.
"Shout! A full-throated shout! Hold nothing back—a trumpet-blast shout!
Tell my people what's wrong with their lives,
face my family Jacob with their sins!
They're busy, busy, busy at worship,
and love studying all about me.
To all appearances they're a nation of right-living people—
They ask me, 'What's the right thing to do?'
and love having me on their side.
But they also complain,
'Why do we fast and you don't look our way?
Why do we humble ourselves and you don't even notice?'
"Well, here's why:
"The bottom line on your 'fast days' is profit.
You drive your employees much too hard.
You fast, but at the same time you bicker and fight.
You fast, but you swing a mean fist.
The kind of fasting you do
won't get your prayers off the ground.
Do you think this is the kind of fast day I'm after:
a day to show off humility?
To put on a pious long face
and parade around solemnly in black?
Do you call that fasting,
a fast day that I, God, would like?
"This is the kind of fast day I'm after:
to break the chains of injustice,
get rid of exploitation in the workplace,
free the oppressed,
What I'm interested in seeing you do is:
sharing your food with the hungry,
inviting the homeless poor into your homes,
putting clothes on the shivering ill-clad,
being available to your own families.
Do this and the lights will turn on,
and your lives will turn around at once.
Your righteousness will pave your way.
The God of glory will secure your passage.
Then when you pray, God will answer.
You'll call out for help and I'll say, 'Here I am.'